Research  |   February 2002
Oral Language Expectations for African American Preschoolers and Kindergartners
Author Notes
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity
Research   |   February 2002
Oral Language Expectations for African American Preschoolers and Kindergartners
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology February 2002, Vol.11, 59-70. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2002/007)
History: Accepted 08 May 2001 , Received 02 Feb 2001
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology February 2002, Vol.11, 59-70. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2002/007)
History: Accepted 08 May 2001 , Received 02 Feb 2001

Fundamental to improving our clinical and empirical understanding of African American students is the development of appropriate, culture-fair assessment methods. This investigation provides descriptive information in the form of means and standard deviations for the performances of 100 typically developing African American preschool and kindergarten students on selected measures of oral language production and comprehension. The measures included four derived from free-play spontaneous language samples: a dialect density measure, mean length of C-units, frequencies of complex syntax, and number of different words. Two measures were derived from responses to nonstandardized elicitations in the form of question prompts and probes of active/passive voice construction. Performances were stable for socioeconomic status on all measures. Dialect density and number of different words varied significantly by gender. Responding to requests for information in the form of question prompts showed a statistically significant increase from preschool to kindergarten. The protocol is recommended for culturefair assessment purposes with African American students as they begin formal education.

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